Jury Clears J&J of Liability in California Lawsuit Over Baby Powder & Asbestos Cancer

Earlier this month, Big Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) scored a victory in its ongoing talcum powder litigation when a California jury rejected a woman’s claims that her cancer was caused by the company’s well-known baby powder.

The verdict, reached after a seven-week trial in Humboldt County, involved one plaintiff who claimed she developed mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure, after using J&J’s baby powder. Although the jury agreed she had been exposed to asbestos-tainted talcum powder, they stated it was not a substantial factor in causing her cancer.

Thousands of Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuits Still Pending

While J&J may have prevailed in this particular case, the pharmaceutical company is still facing close to 12,000 pending lawsuits in the U.S. over its baby powder and other talc-based products. Over 9,000 of those cases involve claims over ovarian cancer. Some of the latest developments in the years-long litigation include:

  • In July 2018, 22 women and their families were awarded nearly $4.7 billion in damages after a St. Louis jury sided with their claims that their long-term use of the company’s talcum powder caused ovarian cancer.
  • The July verdict included roughly $550 million in compensatory damages, and over $4.1 billion in punitive damages, which were awarded in connection to claims that J&J knew of asbestos contamination in its talc products for decades, but failed to warn consumers. It was the sixth largest defective product trial verdict in U.S. history.
  • Days before the record-setting verdict, Imerys S.A., the company which supplies talc to J&J, entered into a confidential settlement with plaintiffs.
  • In April and May 2018, J&J lost two trials when a jury in New Jersey returned a $117 million verdict, and a Los Angeles jury awarded over $25 million to a single plaintiff who developed mesothelioma.

J&J has been cleared of liability in three other mesothelioma cases, has had four mesothelioma cases result in mistrials (including a South Carolina case that ended in a deadlocked jury in early November), and has filed appeals in cases it has lost.

The company also continues to deny claims that its talcum-based products – including its signature baby powder, Shower to Shower powder, and others – cause cancer. According to plaintiffs and a number of scientific studies cited in these cases, however, women who use the company’s talc-based products and powders on a regular basis for feminine hygiene are 33% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who do not.

Have Questions About a Potential Talcum Powder Case?

If you believe you have a potential claim involving cancer that may have been caused by the use of J&J baby powder or other talcum powder products, you may have the right to seek financial compensation for your losses. J&J has been aggressive in its approach to battling talcum powder lawsuits, but the growing number of claims and scientific studies connecting talc-based products to higher risks of cancer provide strength and legitimacy to victims’ allegations.

As a nationally renowned law firm comprised of attorneys with significant experience representing victims and families harmed by defective products and dangerous pharmaceuticals, Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC is available to help you learn more about your rights and legal options. Contact us to speak with an attorney. Consultations are free and confidential.

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